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Are the Jews and Christians the spiritual friends or adversaries, and who are Jews for Jesus?


When I say something positive about Christianity in my posts, many readers assume I have to be a Christian. When speaking positively about Christianity I mention I am a Jew, many Jews suspect I should be a member of a sect ‘Jews for Christ’. When I respond by saying, I am a proud Jew who likes the true Christians and believes the ‘Jews for Jesus’ have lost their Jewish identity by converting to Christianity, I feel a complete mistrust.

I have decided to clarify all that.

Here is my Torah-based understanding of Jewish-Christian relations. This understanding is based on an intellectual study of the very essence of what we called One God, based on His actions described in the Torah. My understanding is not based on an opinion of any one of the truly revered religious authorities – too many contradictory interpretations.

God revealed Himself to the entire humanity through the Jewish people beginning with Abraham and delivered His guidance in the Torah (the Old Testament) at Mount Sinai through Moses.

Then the Jews formed two spiritual movements, which were shaping the future Jewish-Christian relations.

One of the movements worked to tailor the Torah-based God’s guidance into a sort of mandatory rules for the Jewish communities themselves, and this movement produced the Talmud and many follow-up rabbinical rulings. Some known to us groups in this movement were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. This movement created the religion of Judaism with many different internal opinions on the essence of Judaism – from ultra-Orthodox to ultra-Secular.

The other movement, led by Rabbi Joshua who after his death had become Jesus Christ, worked to transfer the Torah-based God’s guidance to the non-Jews, and this movement produced the New Testament and religion of Christianity with many follow-up diversified spiritual streams.

Then, Judaism and Christianity – each of them – split into two fundamental spiritual groups.

Some Jewish and Christian religious leaders followed the Torah’s revelation that God the Creator created all humans in His image and likeness as equal individuals to continue His creative work along the lines of His guidance – with the same fundamental spiritual rules for Jews and Christians. Those Jewish and Christian leaders were reinforcing and strengthening Judeo-Christian spiritual unity and encouraging the ability of diversified religious streams to work with each other, and compete with each other, for a better creative design for the God’s world (God’s Free Will). This group is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God – the true image that reinforces the common Jewish-Christian spiritual ground, based on which the Jews and Christians are creating the God’s better world without interfering into each other faiths (for example, Evangelical Christians led by Pastor John Hagee).

However, many Jewish and Christian religious leaders were fighting for their own authoritative power over the humans, trying to convince everybody that God revealed only to them the ultimate God’s guidance, and everybody who does not follow them is a sinner and God will punish him. The spiritual leaders of this group were reinforcing their own power over their community.

As the readers may see from my writings, I am with the first group, which is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God, and I am a proud Jew who is searching for the inspiration mostly directly from God – in my spiritual world the rabbis are teachers, not a substitution for God.

As to the question of who are the Jews for Jesus, they are not spiritually Jewish at all – they were born to the Jewish families and they decided to change their mission – from being the Chosen to being the Christians – they have stopped being Jewish.

I do not accuse them of betrayal; that is their choice. It is difficult to be the Chosen and feel being responsible for the God’s world; it is much easier to be led and obey (I say this without any negativity). The Jews for Jesus are a tiny minority among the Jews who decided not to follow the rituals of their faith although they were born to Jewish families. The Jewish-Christian intermarriage and secularism takes from the organized Jewish communities much more “human souls”.

We the Jews are 10-20 million strong throughout most of our history. If we have followed our birthrate progression for the last two millenniums, our numbers now might be close to a billion. However, we are not here. Why? A guess: God is satisfied with this number of the Chosen – it is enough to move the world in the right God’s direction. Of course, we the Jews prefer another explanation – we are just in small millions since in the history we were massacred and pogromed. However, many non-Jewish peoples were massacred and pogromed as well – Christians was killing Christians and Muslims, Muslims were killing Muslims and Christians, Indians were killing Indians, Syrians are killing Syrians, and so on.

The Jews and the Christians should be spiritual friends competing with each other for a better God’s design for the better world for everybody. We the Jews have to be proud of our God’s mission of the Chosen – we are doing our best in searching for this God’s design. As concerned to the Jews for Jesus, they are not Jewish.

Israel social ills are not cured by secular social medicines: the case of Russian Jews in Israel


Recently, I have published a post entitled “Why our social ills are not cured by our social medicines: the case of ‘race discrimination’”. An opinion paper in Jerusalem Post by Alexander Kogan “26 years of Russian Aliya: segregation, poverty and police brutality” is an almost perfect confirmation of the analysis in my post – this time in regard to the immigration (Aliya) of Russian Jews to Israel.

Yes, many Russian Jews share the feelings of Alexander Kogan – they feel segregated, impoverished and brutalized by police. However, those feelings are just … the feelings that was created by the Israel’s secular social medicine which was intended to cure the Russian Aliya from these feelings but brought the opposite result.

I know personally the nature of these feelings – my extended family, numerous friends in USA and Israel, and I went through the difficult process of curing from authoritative habits of the Russian birthplace, which were not suitable for the life in new truly democratic countries. We were cured when we replaced the social secular medicine by the Torah/Bible-guided medicine – all of us even those who never studied the Torah but have it in their soul (genes!). We have no bad feelings toward Russian culture – however, it was not suitable for the life in the Western World, and Israel is a part of this World.

While the Israelis expect the Russian Jews to learn quickly the Israeli’s culture and begin living in the Jewish Israeli realm, the Russian Jews want to preserve their Russian culture and continue living the Russian life in Israel, and it is bringing a “clash of civilizations” in Israel.

The majority of Russian Jews are the Jews of completely different culture – different from the Jewish culture of Israelis.

The Jewish Israeli culture in essence is a Torah-based culture with the following fundamental traits – of course, if you are not in the 10-20% Jewish strictly orthodox minority:

  • Individual wisdom should be cherished and collective wisdom should be doubted
  • Supporting your family and community by your own work and being personally responsible for the result
  • The amount of individual wealth is not restricted and being respected at any quantity with understanding that a part of the individual wealth has to be spent for Mitzvah/Charity projects.

The Russian culture cherish something different, and the Russian Jews had been raised in this culture – of course, if you were not a part of the Russian elite:

  • Collective wisdom should be cherished and individual wisdom be distrusted
  • Heavy reliance on government help and therefore minimal personal responsibility
  • Equal government-imposed distribution of wealth for everybody.

Upon arrival in Israel, the Russian Jews were treated with the social-justice medicine: free housing, food allowances, free health care, job-market consultations, and spiritual adjustment assistance through rabbis and social workers.

However, for many Russian Jews it was not enough – on the average, their social-economic status is lower than that of the Sabras.

The Israeli government and society provided the Russian Jews with equal opportunities. However, the Russian Jews demand from the government not the equal opportunities – they demand the equal status. And that is the true reason for their unhappiness and complains – of course, not for all of them but for many.

Let me end this post on an optimistic note: the great majority of children and grandchildren of Russian Jews, who were born in Israel or brought to Israel at a young age, do not complain – they are the true Israelis and the Russian traditions do not guide them anymore.

God and Religion in the Torah – and they may disagree


Preface

I have received from MiKu the following comment: “So you discard a Talmudic idea because it doesn’t fit your agenda, then you aren’t qualified to invent “Intellectual Judaism””, and I have responded in the following way:

“Michael, I am not discarding anything. I am, in my human duty as a spiritual scientist, trying to find out why the purely Talmudic-based Orthodox Judaism is not attracting anymore the Jewish majority, and the Jews are testing something else such as conservatism, reformism, secularism, etc. You may believe the purely Talmudic-based orthodox rabbis are the guardians of Judaism but what guardianship is this if the Jewish majority do not follow them. So I have decided, after many unsuccessful attempts to discuss it with the purely Talmudic-based orthodox rabbis, to go back to the Torah and figure out what may be done to attract the Jews again to the Torah’s guidance. What spiritual objections do you have against my search?”

This post is a part of my search.

We the Jews are united as Jews, all of us from the Orthodox to the Secular, by our collective faith rooted in the Torah, transferred from generation to generation most probably genetically, and enhanced through Jewish education.

We the Jews, all of us from the Orthodox to the Secular, are disunited almost on everything by our diverse and sometimes conflicting interpretations of the Torah guidance.

Why the same Torah is the source of our unity and disunity?

The Torah comprises of two different universes.

One of them is the so-called God’s universe, where God with His multiple images such as Supreme Power, Adonai, Nature, Big Bang, etc. is the Higher Authority above us the humans. The other one is the Religion’s universe. They are different.

Naturally, God Himself created the God’s universe – in all His multiple images. Our human authoritative leaders called in the Jewish nation the Rabbis created the Religion’s universe.

The God’s universe is presented in the Torah with God’s guidance on how to build a human society where every human individual is acting in all his/her life endeavors in the individually understood “image and likeness” of God. We accepted the guidance of the Higher Authority above us the humans after the failure of numerous humans to play the role of such authority. The most fundamental part of this guidance is the so-called “Free Will” that encourages all human individuals to compete with each other for better designs of various parts of the God’s better world.

Based on the Torah’s guidance, the rabbis created the Religion’s universe with their guidance on how to understood the “image and likeness” of God in terms of human moral behavior. The rabbis’ role as teachers in this Religion’s universe was extremely valuable. However, in the course of religious history, the rabbis began to exercise another role – the role of authoritative rulers, and in this role, the rabbis created disunity. In order to secure his power as an authoritative ruler, a rabbi was declaring that only his guidance was the true God’s guidance, and all others were mistaken. This authoritative-ruler approach obviously breaded disunity.

When the Jews lived in the isolated Jewish communities (shtetls, ghettos), this disunity was hidden – the Jews were not interacting with the real God’s world outside the Jewish communities, knew only their rabbi’s guidance and obeyed him.

However about two centuries ago, things had begun to change – the Jews had begun to be accepted by the gentiles and begun real competitive coexistence in the gentile world. The life conditions for Jewish individuals had become completely different, and the rabbis were not able to adjust their spiritual guidance to specific life conditions of everybody. That was the end of the traditional Orthodox spiritual supremacy in the Jewish nation – not because of somebody’s revolt but rather because of inability of the Orthodox rabbis to adjust the Torah’s teachings to the changing times. The Orthodox rabbis were not prepared to tailor their teachings to the enormous changes in the world created along the lines of God’s laws of nature. The result: the birth of new spiritual Jewish movements – conservatism, reformism and secularism. Those feuding movements are trying to find the God’s guidance in new life circumstances, created in the God’s world by the God’s laws, – the guidance the orthodox rabbis were not able to provide.

Europe is awakening while Obama holds his country disoriented on the dangers of Islamism


Unfortunately, that is the case, and the latest publications in the news media make it unmistakably clear.

News from the United Kingdom

Prime Minister of UK Cameron has determined to challenge the conspiracy theories of a powerful Jewish cabal because these theories are camouflaging the real dangers of Islamic radicalization in UK and all over the world that, Cameron believes, we must to address and fight.

News from France

President Nicholas Sarkozy will crack down on the Islamization of his country, after all, as many begin to believe. Just days after saying that multiculturalism had failed in France, President Sarkozy is launching a debate on religion and the secular state, focusing primarily on what limits should be placed on Islam.

News from Netherlands

The Netherlands has banned the black flag of jihad ahead of a large demonstration in Amsterdam to support Hamas against Israel, and Amsterdam begins outlawing the public demonstration of Islamic laws.

News from the public opinion poll on Israel and USA

59% of Americans say their sympathies lie more with Israel with whom they have analogous fundamental moral values, as opposed to just 13% who say their sympathies are more with the Palestinians many of whom on the side of Islamic radicalization.

However, the news from the White House are completely different  

US President Obama blames Israel for its interference in US affairs over Iran deal although Israel is not interfering in US affairs – Israel is trying to counter Iran’s actions aimed at Islamic radicalization of the Middle East and the entire world. The empowerment of Iran through the engineered by Obama Iran’s deal would arm Islamic radicals with nuclear armaments and further advance Islamic radicalization.

Thus, European countries have begun recognizing the dangers of Islamic radicalization and devising the legal instruments for restraining these dangers. The US White House under Obama’s autocratic rule is trying to pretend there are no dangers of Islamic radicalization neither for the USA nor for Israel. Why?

Here is my own “not politically correct” answer.

Elected leaders of European countries, as well as the majority of their citizens, are people with strong feeling of the history and traditions of their countries, and they are trying to defend and protect their countries as they are – with the traditional mix of political, social and religious movements. The traditions of the European countries are Bible-based Judeo-Christian traditions, which are strong in spite of declining influence of official religious organizations.

The same has been true for the USA – normally, elected American leaders have been people with genuine respect for American Bible-based values and desire to preserve them. However, in the last few decades the Bible-based values have begun to be substituted by newly created values of “social justice” and “human rights”. This has opened the door for people with no respect for Bible-based traditional values to be elected, and Barak Obama was one of them. How might it happen if the majority of the country is still the Bible-based moral majority? It looks like the Bible-based moral majority just abandoned the elections since they have not found in the “social-justice-human-rights” electoral slogans anything worthwhile to vote for.

The US President Barak Obama has no good feelings for the traditional American Bible-based moral values. His moral values are closer to authoritarian Islamic values. Therefore, Obama is trying to keep the country disoriented about the dangers of Islamic radicalization to have Islamic idea obtaining a legitimacy in the country.

Rabbis’ spiritual authoritarianism vs. Jews’ individual freedoms


Yes, everybody knows every rabbi is trying to impose on his Jewish constituency the Torah guidance in the interpretation of his ordination institution as the only truthful “Service to God”, and everybody knows every Jews is a profoundly independent individual with his own opinion on everything, who does not like to follow the crowd.

Many know the old joke about the Jew stranded on a desert island. When he is finally discovered after many years, his rescuers find that he has constructed two synagogues. One, he goes to – its prescripts are tailored to his individuality. The other? The other he would never set foot in – it follows wrong prescripts.

However, until the 19th century, this touchy combination was working nicely with no rift between rabbis and their Jewish constituencies.

It was so because until the 19th century the Jewish majority lived in spiritually isolated Jewish communities/ghettos with no competing prescripts on how to be Jewish and be in “Service to God”. For the Jews, living in isolated communities with no significant interactions with the outside gentile world, the definition of a rabbi on the meaning of “Service to God” was as a sort of final word from God for his community. A rabbi’s direction on what to do in a personal life to be a “servant to God” was not for a discussion. Any attempt by a Jewish individual to suggest a competitive interpretation to being “servant to God”, based on the individual’s personal understanding of the Torah guidance, was considered a sort of blasphemy.

In the 19th century, many in the Jewish communities began to question the traditional rabbinical definition of “Service to God” and rabbi’s exclusive role in its presentation that led to creation of non-traditional streams of Judaism and to abandoning rabbis as exclusive spiritual advisers.

This anti-rabbinical trend (which is not an anti-Judaism or anti-all-rabbis trend) was definitely evident in the discussion panel on contemporary Jewish identity, to mark holiday of Tisha B’Av mourning, conducted by the Jewish alumni network Reshet Ramah. This alumni network unites the Jews who were born and raised in the Haredim communities, and then left them in search for a more tolerant Torah-based spiritual environment.

The Reshet Ramah discussion for one of the participants, Srully Stein, Tisha B’Av is about more than commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples: it represents the loss he faced after he decided to leave the ultra-Orthodox community he was born into. Hailing from a rabbinical dynasty, Stein, 23, grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in Williamsburg, New York. At age 18, he met his wife for just a few moments before they were engaged. They had a son, but he dreamt of college and the world outside his insular community. After struggling with conflicting feelings, Stein left the insular community and divorced his wife. As he stated, for him leaving was kind of a destruction of his own personal temple; he personally lost everything he had – his community, his job, much of his family, and he had to rebuild his own spiritual and personal life.

Srully Stein is hardly alone. Why he and many others like him are abandoning their Haredim rabbis, synagogues and communities – not to stop being “servant to God” but to being “servant to God” in a completely different way? They have done it to recreate their own personal temples they lost in the Haredim communities. That is why on Tisha B’Av, they mourn the destruction of a personal temple as well.

What is the true meaning of a personal temple? Any spiritual temple is a place where people learn how to be “Servant of God” – in their own individual image of “God”. Why an individual image – not collective? That is because we are created in the image and likeness of God who is a unique individual. God (in any of His possible images) did not created us as an impersonal flock – He created us as individual Adams and Eves, Abrahams and Mosess, Isaacs and Jacobs with our own personal spiritual temples that we create around us. Unfortunately, the rabbinical majority of the past neglected this – instead of teaching how to build and enhance a personal Jewish temple in coherent coexistence with the collective Jewish temple, they taught how not to create a personal temple and to obey only the directives of the collective temple.

Finally, the Jewish majority has realized that and revolted, and the stories of Srully Stein and many others tell it all.

So, what the rabbis can do and what they cannot do?

Rabbis can provide us the Jews with the knowledge of Judaic sources and of how various sages, prophets and authoritative rabbis tailored the unchanging Torah guidance to the changing historic circumstances of their times. Rabbis can provide us with the knowledge of rituals and proper behavior in the surroundings of our families, communities and synagogues.

However, rabbis are not able to tailor the Torah guidance to the little known to them our Jewish life outside the isolated, insular Jewish communities in the gentile environment, where most of the contemporary Jews spend most of their time – in schools, at work, in social circles, at travel, at charitable activities, in political circles, in government, in arts and science, etc. Outside the isolated Jewish communities, the Jews are performing their mission of the Chosen – the Chosen by God for Tikkun Olam to build a better world for everybody along the lines of Torah guidance.

We the Jews know much better than our rabbis the life outside Jewish communities in the gentile environment, and that is our responsibility to tailor the Torah guidance to this life using our God-given intellect.

We have to build our own personal spiritual temples around us and make our personal temples compatible with the collective temple, and the rabbis should help us to do this – not to force us to suppress our personal temples for the sake of the collective one.

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